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Cuba at the Crossroads

Recorded on September 17, 2007

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

The weeks and months that follow the (perhaps imminent) death of Fidel Castro will be the most important period, both in Cuban history as well as in Cuba's relationship with the United States and the rest of the hemisphere, since Castro seized power in 1959. The policies pursued by the U.S. Government during that transition will have a crucial impact on the shape of the Cuban government and economy that will emerge. Will Cubans be free at last, after 50 years living under tyranny, to build a market-based democracy? Or will the Cuban government's totalitarian machinery fall into the clutches of Hugo Chavez or one of his clones, forcing the Cuban people to endure 50 more years of life in a brutal command-economy police state? To discuss these important questions, The Heritage Foundation is planning a series of events - "Cuba at the Crossroads" - to examine the future of U.S.-Cuba relations from various perspectives.

On September 17, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos M. Gutierrez will deliver the inaugural lecture in this series and outline the thinking of the Bush Administration on these important topics. Born in Cuba, Secretary Gutierrez is actively involved in formulating U.S. policy toward the island nation and serves as Co-chair of the Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba.